Seven Levels of Teshuva: Yitzchak Part Three
The Talmud says that God stores the souls of the righteous under His throne.1 If Teshuva reaches the Divine Throne it means that one who has done Teshuva is included in the righteous.
The Zohar elaborates on this image2 by teaching that each human being has a different path. Each person has a distinct movement in his heart and a separate gate to serve God. All this comes from the Divine Throne. The Throne is the source of pirud, of all distinctions between people. God picks up each soul, shapes it and gives it its individual job in this world. The source of being unique, of being special derives from the Divine Throne. The image in the Midrash is that of babies crawling around the shoulders and legs of their parents. The souls are “crawling” all around God to be with Him.
The Midrash says that when God taught Moshe about the Machatzit Hashekel, which symbolizes each individual, He took a fiery coin from underneath His Throne.3 This Midrash is consistent with the idea that individuality comes from the Divine Throne.
Even our individual struggles are associated with the Divine Throne. The Midrash says that the dust that was stirred when Jacob was wrestling with the angel is collected and stored in a hole dug by God underneath His throne.4 That wrestling match is symbolic of the struggles we have with the evil inclination. We saw earlier that even those struggles are unique to each individual. It is specifically because those struggles are so uniquely ours that when we confront them in our Teshuva we can reach all the way to the Divine Throne.
The image of Teshuva reaching the Divine Throne means that you can reach back to the source of your existence, to the root of your individuality. This is what Reb Tzadok meant when he said that this level of Teshuva can repair all of your past. It takes you back to when your soul was a baby, when you were crawling around God’s legs and shoulders. Teshuva takes you back to the moment when God was shaping your soul and cleanses all of your mistakes. You are not only starting again, you are starting from the beginning of your very existence as if nothing bad has happened in the past. Teshuva takes you back to the very stirrings of creation5. This connection to our source is so powerful that when Moshiach comes he will show us the secrets stored underneath the Divine Throne.6
- The Midrash says that one who looks at his Tzitzit properly can see all the way to the Divine Throne.7 Tzitzit are a primary tool for dealing with the Yetzer Harah, the Evil Inclination. One who is doing Teshuva and wants to reach the Divine Throne should become more exacting in his observance of Tzitzit.
- Another tool described by the Midrash as effective in reaching the Divine Throne is Torah Study.8
- Be meticulous in observing the laws of Lishon Harah, speaking detrimentally of others. This sin, more than all others, reaches all the way to the Divine Throne.9
- Give extra Tzedaka. The Midrash teaches that charity beautifies the Throne of God and as Teshuva, brings the soul to the Divine Throne.10
- In Kabbalat Shabbat11 when reciting “Or zarua latzaddik” Light is planted for the righteous, keep in mind the individual Divine light of each person that is stored underneath the Throne.12
1 Shabbat 152b
2 Volume 1, 152b.
3 Tanchuma, Ki Tisa 9
4 Shir Hashirim Rabbah 3:8
5 The Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu Rabbah, Chapter 31, says that in fact every detail of creation began underneath the Divine Throne.6 Midrash Zuta, Shir Hashirim Chapter 5 #2
7 Tanchuma Shelach 17
8 Tanna D’bei Eliyahu Rabbah, Chapter 4; “The souls of the Torah scholars are stored underneath the Throne of God.” Ibid, Chapter 13, “God sits on His throne when studying Torah.”
9 Ibid Chapter 18
10 Ibid Zuta, Chapter 1
11 Psalm 97
12 Pesikta Rabbati, Chapter 36